Introducing Team Science

By Victor Bilgen

For the past decade, we at McChrystal Group have sat across the table from hundreds of executives and provided data-driven insight, guidance, and advice on how they can achieve their strategies. In these discussions, three major themes have been consistent:

  • Leaders today are faced with too much data to drive decision-making.
  • In complex environments, leaders can lose sight of the perspectives from employee stakeholders.
  • Leaders need to learn to see their organizations as networks and not line-and-block charts.

We created the McChrystal Team Science practice to address these very problems. In 2012, we built our first product, the Organizational Diagnostic, to map out organizational influence networks and measure organizational performance. We’ve applied this survey and interview approach pan-industry across Fortune 1000 companies, helping build organizations of high-performing teams.

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Since then, we’ve integrated critical concepts from organizational psychology, social network theory, studies of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, risk climate assessments, and longitudinal methodologies to provide the most impactful and important insights for our clients. In total, this unique blend of ideas and methods provides executives an action plan to accomplish their goals using the voice of their people.

This is Team Science. This is what we’ve learned, and this is what it can do for your business.

Cutting through the clutter

Executives today are faced with information overload. Every organization manages strategies and objectives that are reinforced with financial and operational KPIs, OKR’s, and other metrics. Teams are providing engagement surveys, organizational climate surveys, 360 reviews, and more. The challenge is that each source of data has different owners, and no data fields are tied together in any complementary way.

In our experience, while this data is important, it is nearly impossible to action all of it without an ecosystem to organize it. McChrystal Team Science ties key metrics together from your existing data and our measured data to generate insights at an Organizational, Team, and Individual level. Our model baselines organizations against the capabilities of high-performing teams, which then contextualizes other KPIs into actionable, prioritized reports so leaders receive a streamlined perspective of their organizations.

Re-focusing on the Employee Stakeholder

Typically, strategy, financial, and people analytics budgets all fall under separate teams. While this makes sense due to the functional expertise of the practitioners, it can lead to significant risk for organizational plans. Financial analyses might provide the viability and opportunity of a plan but will not account for the efficacy of the individuals and teams who will execute it. Studies estimate that two-thirds of well-formulated strategies fail due to poor execution.1 Failing to account for organizational strategies when providing people insights appropriately can lead to inaction and a frustrated employee base.

This is why the Team Science approach starts with generating a comprehensive understanding of an organization’s goals, then applies methodologies to assess and monitor change in organizations to track progress, and finally prioritizes insights from our surveys and interviews within those strategies. Our buyers are C-Suite executives and business unit leads; our partners are HR, IT, and Operations.

Weaponizing a Networked Approach

Most leaders visualize the inner workings of their organizations through the clean lens of a line-and-block chart. These diagrams eloquently depict functional and hierarchical structure, with implied roles and responsibilities. Unfortunately, most organizations never truly operate in that clean fashion. Thanks to technology, hybrid working environments, and an increasingly high rate of restructures, influence within an organization seems to happen almost haphazardly.

McChrystal Team Science addresses this noise using organizational network analysis methodologies to analyze and visualize how organizations actually operate. Using survey data, we can highlight high-impact network influencers, the collaboration between teams, decision-making bottlenecks, and multiple sub-networks such as hubs of innovation or mentorship. When organizations face growth opportunities or change initiatives, understanding and leveraging their networks can create scalable and sustainable success over time.

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Network analysis can visualize your growth over time

What Team Science Can Do for Your Organization

McChrystal Team Science is not just another set of survey tools. We have combined the most important data inputs with a proprietary leadership framework and the experience of our data scientists, practitioners, and database to provide an actionable, prioritized perspective on organizational challenges.

Our model is proven to help organizations grow. Organizations that score well in our model experience over 160% higher median net income growth than companies that score poorly.

Our tools are validated to promote retention and enhance employee engagement and inclusion. Our research demonstrates that employees who score negatively on our engagement model quit 70% of the time. By highlighting the concerns of those employees, we help you act before it is too late.

We can be your long-term partners for success. At McChrystal Group, we are very proud of our Team Science approach because we care about the value that we bring to our clients. Working with our team will provide you with the roadmap to your goals, powered by the voice of your people.


KPIs = key performance indicators

OKRs = objectives and key results


Victor Bilgen

Managing Partner, McChrystal Team Science

Victor Bilgen leads a team of data scientists, researchers, and business intelligence analysts who deploy the analytics product suite for all consulting teams. He designs and owns the long-term product, people, and technology strategies for the Team Science business and is responsible for the business, sales, and partner channel success.

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